As a resident of the area, you no doubt appreciate why OrthoWorx describes our region as The Orthopedic Capital of the World®. Revra DePuy launched the orthopedic industry here in 1895.
After growing up in Warsaw, I enjoyed a 25-year career at Zimmer. Many of my family and friends have or currently work in the industry. I didn’t plan to stay in Warsaw, but I’m glad I did – I was able to do incredibly interesting work with great people here and around the world, and hopefully make life better for patients receiving products made in Warsaw. Now, keeping my community and the industry in our region healthy is even more important and personal to me. My son-in-law works at an orthopedic company and one of my daughters aspires to practice orthopedics. As a grandmother, I want my grandson to have every career opportunity I’ve had here as well as a great quality of life, which requires things like a progressive, high-ranking school system within a vibrant community.
The industry touches nearly every person in our area: with 13,000 direct and indirect jobs, roughly 45 percent of Kosciusko County’s employment is tied to the industry. For every 10 orthopedic jobs, an additional nine jobs are generated in Kosciusko County.
OrthoWorx’s mission is to create a vibrant community so the orthopedic industry will continue to expand here. Each is more successful when the other succeeds. The Lilly Endowment Inc. granted $4 million to support OrthoWorx, with opportunity for another $3.5 million as part of a dollar-for-dollar match on donations raised from companies, foundations and individuals with a personal connection to orthopedics.
In three years, OrthoWorx has brought together community and industry leaders with significant impact. An OrthoWorx-funded study led to collaboration with Warsaw schools, including the first STEM Academy, higher ISTEP scores, increased ratings for all schools in the district, and significantly increased graduation rates from Warsaw Community High School. OrthoWorx has worked with Ivy Tech to establish a certificate for area residents to qualify for advanced manufacturing jobs and with Grace College to establish degrees in the growing fields of orthopedic clinical and regulatory affairs and quality management.
We have provided funding to the Krebs Trailhead Park, the Wagon Wheel Theatre, and sponsored studies in community attributes to identify areas that still need strengthening. We created MyWarsaw.Net, a community web portal where recruits could learn about our area and local residents could find information about civic assets, recreational and cultural events.
We are also working to establish a unique regional collaborative medical research and education entity in Warsaw to connect healthcare providers and Indiana universities with the orthopedic industry to create productive partnerships that can drive innovation, employment and fill a void that has existed for decades.
But OrthoWorx has just begun and our new plans will require significant investments. The endowment has been and is an important funder of our region’s charitable and educational advances. Now, we need to come together as a community and take a stronger ownership in funding our future. Through this OrthoWorx Match, the Lilly Endowment has given us a tremendous opportunity to bring further change and growth to our hometown and region.
Our next stage of major initiatives includes deeper engagement with other life science stakeholders and a broader connectivity in the northern region that promises a significant impact on our region. We plan to expand on STEM education, university engagement, key community assets and further develop an ecosystem for innovation.
We received a $15,000 donation to the Orthopedics Capital Foundation toward the match from Farmers State Bank, which we greatly appreciate. According to Greg Maxwell, their president, the work OrthoWorx does is critical to every area business and nearly every resident.
“We ask ourselves what our community would be like if the orthopedic industry wasn’t here or if it shrank the way auto plants have shrunk in many Indiana cities and towns,” said Maxwell. “There’s too many examples around us of how that devastates communities. We realize that a community can’t control the decisions industry makes, but we believe we ought to work as hard as we can to impact the factors that we can. And that means education, workforce development, the attractiveness of the community—all things OrthoWorx does and all things that are within the community’s control.”
He’s right. The work we do is about the community. The match opportunity is a test of what kind of community we want for our future and ourselves.
Since we have about a week to go and are only a third of the way to our goal, we need your help. This is our community; I hope that you will join me in making a tax-deductible contribution that can be matched dollar for dollar—please visit www.orthoworxindiana.com and download a pledge form, or donate online at https://kcfoundation.org/orthoworxmatch/
Act quickly, your tax-deductible donations or binding pledges must be received by October 15, 2013. Please consider supporting our efforts to build our orthopedic legacy to assure a vibrant community-it’s the perfect match.